Photojournalism Column 
Jim Colburn - Don't Ask...
"Hey Monica! Thanks For The Work!"

Well folks, the free ride is almost over. Monica Lewinsky has testified and it's all downhill from here. I think it's about time that the Washington news community shouted a great big "thank you" to Monica and her erstwhile friend Linda Tripp the very next time we see either of them. Heck, maybe we should all chip in a get a card or some flowers. If Monica hadn't done the magic lambada in the Oval Office (if that's what she did) and if Linda hadn't worn that wire then this year would have been not only pretty damn dull but pretty damn (poor) as well.

I venture to suggest that every competent photographer and videographer in D.C. has made a bundle off of this scandal. Day rates have been thrown around like golf balls at a driving range. I know a few TV crew members that are seriously thinking about the boats that they're going to buy with the overtime they've logged. Companies that rent out satellite trucks have been shipping them in from all across the country and that coffee shop at The Watergate has been doing land office business supplying lattes and chocolate croissants.

Oh sure, maybe the press didn't exactly LOOK good as they crowded around witnesses at the courthouse like a pack of wild dogs. Maybe Betty Currie WAS as scared to death as she looked in those photos and maybe, just maybe, the normal people in D.C. will welcome the fact that they can now use the sidewalk in front of Monica's lawyers' offices without tripping over mic stands and cables.

But think of the MONEY everyone's made. It's meant a multi-million dollar influx into the local economy and, quite frankly, we should all hope for at least one of these things every year. A six month scandal that starts in the spring and lasts until the beginning of August works out just fine and means that everyone can make a bundle of bucks and still go away for a couple of weeks of vacation time with the family.

What the hell. Congress sure isn't doing anything worth covering and photographers have to eat......

DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed are barely my own much less my employer's so don't blame Time Magazine, Time Inc. or Time-Warner for anything written here. If you have to blame somebody try finding the guy that cut me off in traffic a few days ago and nearly creased my bumper.

Jim Colburn


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